The priesthood session of General Conference last night was very interesting for me. It was the first time I attended without a calling. Ever. The first time I went as a deacon, I had a calling.
So over the 19ish years since, I have Pres. Monson (or occasionally someone else) recite to me "Now let every man learn his duty" or "Do your duty, that is best. Leave to thy God the rest." And that was really easy. I knew what my duty was: learn how to be an organist, check; learn how to be a missionary, check; learn how to be a membership clerk, check....
I don't have a duty.
No, that's not right. I have home teaching duties, quorum duties, priesthood duties, membership duties, fatherhood duties, husband duties, work duties, duties to my relationship with God, duty duty duty. Yes. I know. And there's a lot I have to learn about doing those duties.
What I don't have is a calling to which I would normally immediately apply that advice and injunction. Because that's different it got me started on a new train of thought. It got me thinking about not just whatever calling I get next, but what calling I might have after that, or five after that. I asked myself, "If you knew that God was going to call you to be a Young Men's teacher, how would you listen to the talks about the new Aaronic Priesthood Duty to God program differently?" I don't know if there are any openings for that right now, but in five years there might be. It would be good to be prepared.
So I listened a little better. The new Duty to God award outlines a process of identifying duties and setting goals, preparing and planning out how to fulfill those goals, doing it, and then return and report - share with someone how your life has been blessed for it.
"If you knew that you were going to be called to Primary" or "to serve in Elders' Quorum" or "to anywhere else" what would you need to do first to prepare? What goals would you have and how would you prepare? Well, the first thing I need to do is get to know the other members of the ward better, whether that focus is on the other elders or the primary kids or the young men or what have you. "What if you were called to the organ?" Well, I'd be largely off the hook then. I've spent a long time preparing for that one and it's one of the best callings for natural loners. Otherwise, I ought to do my future self a favor and redouble my efforts to get to know the members of the ward and particularly my quorum since I've only been able to attend EQ once or twice in the last two months between helping out in Primary and Hyrum being sick.
I don't know what my future calling(s) will be, but getting to know the people around me is nearly always part of my calling-duty and always part of the membership-duties. So later when I saw some of my fellow elders putting up chairs, I joined them and took a moment to place another name with a face. [Merkley isn't that common a name, so why do I now know three families named Merkley, none of whom are related??]